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Fly on the Wall

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East Tennessee legislator Stacey Campfield has been racking his brain to figure out how to get parents more involved in their children's education. His solution: Punish the crap out of everybody. "Why not tie a child getting an education to a parent getting entitlements? If the child fails to make progress or drops out of school, the parent and child lose the government-funded benefits until the child is 21. We already say a kid cannot get a driver's license if they don't get a high school diploma. How about sharing the responsibility, punishment, and reward with the person who can most motivate that child?"

Getting Mythological

Voters in Tennessee's 9th Congressional District who aren't steeped in the classics may need some help interpreting recent comments by U.S. representative Steve Cohen. According to the political news website Talking Points Memo, Cohen thinks the House's last-minute budget compromise bill pits the conscience of some Democratic lawmakers against the president. His metaphor: The bill is "like a Trojan Horse, with Scylla and Charybdis inside."

In other words, the bill is so bad, it's like the giant wooden horse designed to hide ancient Greek warriors and help them sneak inside an enemy's gates. Only instead of housing ancient Greek warriors, this bill can hide the ocean, a giant whirlpool, and an evil sea monster with 12 ship-crushing tentacles and six long necks topped with dog-like heads each containing three rows of jagged teeth. That sounds even worse than Congressional Black Caucus chairman Emanuel Cleaver's description of the bill as a "sugar-coated Satan sandwich."

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